Marion’s Amazing Treasures Summer Adventure- Bike Trail and YMCA

Amazing Treasures IX- Let’s Get Active, Week 6
By Vicky Tabor Branson

I’m still working on getting rid of that extra weight from this winter and returning to our theme of Let’s Get Active is much needed.  I have recommitted myself to my exercise routines at the YMCA of Marion again.  Twice a week I do an aggressive water fitness workout outside.  But you are probably asking how do I do an outside water fitness class through the Y.  The YMCA is working in partnership with the Lincoln Park Aquatic Center.  I love it because this class has so many pluses.  I get to be outside.  It is in the morning right before the pool opens to the public so no crowds.  And my instructor, Jean, is wonderful.  She creates workouts that keep you entertained and I feel it, the next day, in all of my muscles.

Tai Chi Class at the YMCA.

With a hectic schedule this summer that includes lots of yard work in garden beds, I only have time for one more class- Tai Chi. I have wanted to do this for years and found it at the Y.  It is a workout for the mind and body.  By using many different slow deliberate movements, which you need to memorize, you can improve your balance, your range of motion and keep your mind active and body flexible.  I love the time spent in class.  I come out refreshed and with a sense of inner calm.   The stress of life is forgotten in those 50 minutes.  I even convinced Kelsey to give it a try, despite her being the youngest in the class by a couple of decades.

But the YMCA is so much more than exercise, and sometimes the exercise is not traditional.  They have community garden plots this summer for a nominal fee.  There are day camps and sports camps.  Friends of mine are playing Pickleball, a mixture of ping-pong, tennis and badminton.  There is also a triathlon and duathlon on August 16.  As you can see there is so much to do at the YMCA and it is well-worth the membership fee.

Kelsey did the second part of the article this week as she got out and discovered the Marion City Bike Trail.  So I hand the article over to her until our next adventure.

After being told that a bike route was on the Marion’s Amazing Treasures, I was quick to dust off my old bike and give her a spin like I used to. The last time we were together, we weren’t able to leave my driveway due to the terrible traffic around my house, and this was when I was like 16 years old. I could tell that even after all these years, she was still just as excited to reunite as I was. I made sure to drag my fiancé, Kit, along for the adventure as well.

I was nervous initially. Not only had I not taken my bike out for years and was worried I had lost my touch, but I had never driven on the road before, and neither had Kit. ‘This will certainly make for an interesting afternoon,’ I remember thinking to myself. To my surprise, I quickly got my mojo back and before we knew it, we were riding our aluminum steeds among the steel horses of Route 95 and 309 and Downtown Marion! Although I tensed up every time a car came up behind us, I kept my cool and didn’t even fall (a miracle in itself).

Marion's Bike Route
Marion’s Bike Route

By the time we neared the end of the journey, my quads were toast and I collapsed on the lush McKinley grass where Kit and I looked at clouds for a solid 15 minutes because I refused to move. After I decided to get up, I realized that I had forgotten my allergy of grass…bummer.

After running (yeah right, driving) home, showering and applying major cream to the grass-exposed areas, I began to reflect how different my community looked when riding a bike than in a car. I drive around those places every day and I fail to notice the beauty of it because I get so caught up in my tunes or just life in general. Getting to go outdoors may not be possible everyday but it is important for your body and your mind to mix up your routine. Going on a bike trail is a great way to take advantage of nice weather, get great exercise, clear your mind of other stresses, and is a great way to appreciate the beauty of the world around you.

This has, without a doubt, been my favorite week so far. Exercise is a very important part of my weekly regimen and helps me keep my cool and feel all-around better. This definitely won’t be my last time on that bike trail or doing Tai Chi, that is for certain.

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